Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not about laziness. It’s a habit – and it just takes some personalized navigation to find ways to be productive and convince yourself to get things done.
While procrastination is usually about fear, it takes form in different ways – and so, in order to curb that tendency, it might be useful to find the right tools for your particular breed of procrastinating.
➡️ Our quick-action takers, you can skip this one. Or read on to understand your procrastinating spouse or friends a little better, so you can be a more productive team.
I created my own archetypes for the five types of procrastinators, based on what I’ve seen from clients and my personal experience. Procrastination tends to come up in different forms based on these types – so why not offer solutions based on your type?
You spend way too much time in the editing, refining, researching phases, but struggle to take actual action to make it happen. You’ve been learning all the ins and outs about blogging, but haven’t hit publish on anything yet. You’re afraid of what people will think or how it will turn out – so you delay the progress. Things take you 10x longer than they probably should, and you’re overthinking it all along the way. You ask people for opinions, change your mind regularly, and struggle to make final decisions. So, while you’re not procrastinating from the beginning, you procrastinate with refining it until the finish line.
Solution: Adopt a B quality mindset instead of aiming for perfection in what you do. “Done is better than perfect” should be your new mantra. Most likely, your idea of what B+ work looks like is beyond A quality. But permitting yourself to achieve at a level that is less than perfect can help you toward your actual goal, which is to put it out into the world.
When you’re a micro-tasker in a procrastinating spiral, you tend to be drawn to doing anything productive, except for the most pressing task. Procrastinating is kind of a productive trait for these types – except that the thing that you’re putting off is the most urgent, vital task to move you forward. The house will be cleaner than ever, all the errands will get done, but the thing that could change your life goes unchecked.
Like I said above, procrastination is often about fear – and it’s helpful if you tune into why you’re avoiding the task at hand. Often, you dread tasks and put them off because you believe they’ll be time-consuming; you’ll get rejected; or you want to prepare yourself mentally.
But the reality is, it’s a story you’re making up. These kinds of tasks are often not nearly as time-consuming or painful as you believe they will be.
Solution: Start when you first get the idea/assignment and have excitement around it – before you let your overthinking get the best of you. Create a plan that feels more bite-sized and doable than working on an entire project. When you think you have to complete something from start to finish, it can feel like too much to handle. But breaking it down from the start and getting started on the first bit helps it to feel achievable.
You’re the kind of person who bites off more than you can chew. Deep down, you know that you can’t handle everything you say yes to, but you do it anyway. And more often than not, you feel like you’re letting people down because you can’t get everything done when you wanted to. Messages get ignored, you start missing deadlines, and you can’t seem to do everything to the best of your ability, because you’re spread too thin. And even if you’re managing to get it all done, you typically feel drained and unimpressed with your work.
Solution: The obvious one here would be to say, “just say no.” But I’ll be more chill with you and say, start with giving more realistic deadlines for yourself. And if you can supersede them, it’ll look great. Instead of making yourself look and feel bad when you can’t meet the deadline, this will allow you to feel more at ease.
And instead of saying no, try taking a look at what your capacity is that quarter and suggest that they circle back with you in a few months when you might have a lighter schedule.
The Inspired Action Taker
As Katy Perry would say, “Cause you’re hot then you’re cold. You’re yes then you’re no. You’re in then you’re out.” You thrive when the motivation strikes, but when you’re not feeling it – it’s a no for you. If something isn’t lighting a spark in you, it’s hard to convince yourself to do it. You’re a passionate person about what you care about – but you’ll go dragging your feet to anything that isn’t appealing to you.
Solution: While we sometimes are required to do things we don’t want to do – because that’s life, we’re also adults and if we have the resources, can outsource tasks we don’t like. Whether it’s a partner taking over different chores, or hiring someone to take over the finances in your business, there are so many things in life that you can outsource and don’t have to do yourself if it’s not your thing. Get crafty with it – sometimes people are willing to do a trade for their services too. Work with your strengths and delegate the rest. If you can’t give it to someone else, find ways to make the tasks more enjoyable.
You put the pro in procrastination. Fun fact: I once wrote a college essay with that title (while procrastinating, obviously and still got an A because heyyy.) The pro-crastinators are the types that thrive under pressure. You work well when there is a deadline hovering over you – and struggle to get started when the due date is far away. While this is great, sometimes it gets stressful.
Because pro-crastinators create a belief around thriving under pressure, it can sometimes be true, at least to them. But the cons of this type is that the stress and frantic nature of getting things done at the last minute is chaotic – for both you and the people around you. You’ll likely need to devote your entire focus to the project in a sprint-like fashion. Sprinting leaves your body in stress-mode and makes balance impossible during these periods.
Solution: Create mini-deadlines with consequences, so that you can still feel that rush and challenge of getting things done without the same intensity. The goal is to maintain balance, so you don’t throw off your diet, relationships, and everything else to get things done at the last minute.
Which tendency do you have toward procrastination?